Abundance and spatial distribution of brown crab (Cancer pagurus) from fishery-independent dredge and trawl surveys in the North Sea

Carlos Mesquita*, Helen Dobby, Graham J. Pierce, Catherine S. Jones, Paul G. Fernandes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brown crab (Cancer pagurus) is a widely distributed crustacean that occurs around the British coastline supporting important commercial fisheries. The habitat preferences of brown crab around Scotland are poorly documented and for the purposes of stock assessment, the species is considered data-poor. Based on an analysis of dredge and trawl surveys taking place in the North Sea (2008-2018), we describe the spatial distribution of brown crab and for the first time, develop abundance and recruitment indices for the species. We make use of geostatistical methods and apply generalized additive models to model catch rates in relation to a number of explanatory variables (depth, distance to the coast, sediment type and year). The dredge and trawl abundance indices were correlated showing a similar trend of increasing catch rates in the early years of the time series up to 2016 and a subsequent reduction. The recruitment index showed a gradual increase in captured juvenile crabs up to 2014 followed by a steep decrease with 2018 being the lowest value estimated. The derivation of robust indicators of stock abundance will contribute to the stock assessment of this species and enable the provision of improved fisheries management advice for brown crab around Scotland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-610
Number of pages14
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Volume78
Issue number2
Early online date5 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • brown crab
  • creel fisheries
  • dredge
  • fishery-independent data
  • geostatistics
  • Scotland
  • spatial distribution
  • survey
  • trawl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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